Combined social cognitive and neurocognitive rehabilitation strategies in schizophrenia: Neuropsychological and psychopathological influences on Theory of Mind improvement

M. Bechi, M. Bosia, M. Spangaro, M. Buonocore, F. Cocchi, A. Pigoni, M. Piantanida, C. Guglielmino, L. Bianchi, E. Smeraldi, R. Cavallaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Neurocognitive and social cognitive impairments represent important treatment targets in schizophrenia, as they are significant predictors of functional outcome. Different rehabilitative interventions have recently been developed, addressing both cognitive and psychosocial domains. Although promising, results are still heterogeneous and predictors of treatment outcome are not yet identified. In this study we evaluated the efficacy of two newly developed social cognitive interventions, respectively based on the use of videotaped material and comic strips, combined with domain-specific Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT). We also analysed possible predictors of training outcome, including basal neurocognitive performance, the degree of cognitive improvement after CRT and psychopathological variables. Method Seventy-five patients with schizophrenia treated with CRT, were randomly assigned to: social cognitive training (SCT) group, Theory of Mind Intervention (ToMI) group, and active control group (ACG). Results ANOVAs showed that SCT and ToMI groups improved significantly in ToM measures, whereas the ACG did not. We reported no influences of neuropsychological measures and improvement after CRT on changes in ToM. Both paranoid and non-paranoid subjects improved significantly after ToMI and SCT, without differences between groups, despite the better performance in basal ToM found among paranoid patients. In the ACG only non-paranoid patients showed an improvement in non-verbal ToM. Conclusion Results showed that both ToMI and SCT are effective in improving ToM in schizophrenia with no influence of neuropsychological domains. Our data also suggest that paranoid symptoms may discriminate between different types of ToM difficulties in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3147-3157
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Medicine
Volume45
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015

Keywords

  • Neurocognition
  • paranoia
  • rehabilitation
  • schizophrenia
  • social cognition
  • Theory of Mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology

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